Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Marin to SF bike commute in the Wall Street Journal

TJ Kelly and Frank Colson work for Sportgenic, a sports media startup in San Francisco. They both live in Mill Valley on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. They both added up the cost of their 14 mile commute and decided to start biking it in.
One rainy morning earlier this year, T.J. Kelly, general manager of Sportgenic, Inc., a start-up sports media company in San Francisco, was sitting in traffic on the bus ride to work and noticed a surprising number of bikers outside. Mr. Kelly, a bike enthusiast, started crunching numbers.

With gas hovering around $4.69 a gallon; parking ranging from $17 to $30 a day; a monthly bus pass costing $80 a month, or adding up to $150 a month on a purchase-per-ride basis, his commute -- a combination of car and bus -- was costing him close to $600 a month. Plus, with the 12-to-16-hour days he'd been putting in at work, he'd been struggling to find time to exercise.

The bus ride took about 55 minutes each way. Biking takes 50 minutes each way, plus about 20 minutes of shower time at the gym on the first floor of his office building. "It all just clicked," says Mr. Kelly, who decided to turn his workout into his commute.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal. Thank you to Jack for forwarding this.

Cozy Beehives notes that American motorists drove 22 billion fewer miles since the previous year. He asks the question: Does that make roads safer for cyclists? A lot of the discussion in his comments, however, is on the role of financial speculation on oil prices.

Commodity speculation works when you can stockpile the commodity. Somebody sits on a pile of corn in storage somewhere until prices rise, then he sells it. If prices never go up, he loses money.

With the oil markets, however, oil on the spot market -- that is, oil sold for short term delivery -- is selling at the high prices bid by "speculators" six months previously. Nobody is sitting on oil -- anybody talking about storing oil for future sales discovers pretty quickly that they can make money fast by selling it immediately. There is very little spare capacity in the supply chain. With these kinds of mechanics, market forces are the dominant factor in the price of oil. We want it, we'll pay for it.

This post at The Oil Drum sheds more light on "paper" futures and the price of oil.


  1. Waste not want not. Besides in Middle East, is there a more wasteful use of a precious commodity like oil on a grand scale than here in the USA?

    Congratulations and thanks to Kelly & Colson for doing what make this country great. Keeping their minds clear, saving a precious commodity, making our air cleaner, and living a healthier lifestyle makes them and our country stronger.

    And thanks to Fritz for being a productive netizen.

  2. A fellow SF Randonneur lives in Mill Valley and bike-commutes across the Golden Gate every day to his job at the SF Public Library downtown. And does it on a fixed-gear in style!